Remdesivir for COVID-19: A Promising Early Report
To date, several pharmaceutical agents have been evaluated in the treatment of COVID-19. On May 23, the first report of a positive response to a therapeutic agent, remdesivir, was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The positive top line results of this trial were shared via a press release a few weeks ago.
To summarize, this trial randomized 1063 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Those patients who received remdesivir, an antiviral agent, had a median recovery time of 11 days vs. 15 days for those who received the placebo (rate ratio for recovery 1.32, 95% CI 1.12-1.55, P<0.001). The Kaplan-Meier estimates of mortality at 14 days were 7.1% with remdesivir vs. 11.9% with placebo (HR for death, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.04). Serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported for 114/541 patients (21.1%) in the remdesivir group and in 141/522 patients (27.0%) in the placebo group. Remdesivir is only available for intravenous administration.
The trial is ongoing, however, the data and safety monitoring board recommended unblinding the results to investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who then made the results public. Remdesivir is currently not licensed nor approved in the US or anywhere in the world. Additional industry-sponsored clinical trials are also being conducted.